TAC report paints glum picture of transportation funding

March 7, 2019

Most readers of this publication and George Wolff’s Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition newsletter are aware of the transportation funding issues facing the Commonwealth.

Those issues include the lack of progress in achieving a federal highway funding solution, a lawsuit challenging the appropriateness of the Turnpike Commission’s subsidies to public transportation, the diversion of revenue from the Motor License Fund, and the declining revenue generated from fuel taxes and license and registration fees.

A recent report from the state’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) on transportation funding risks corroborates the challenges facing political leaders and policymakers, beginning as early as Pennsylvania’s new fiscal year on July 1.

The Turnpike has been unable to make the last three quarterly installments on the $450 million annual payment required by Act 44 of 2007. The matter is pending in federal court, and the uncertainty prevents the turnpike from securing the required bonds.

While $400 million of that annual payment will expire at the end of 2022, the lawsuit accelerates the date of reckoning. Couple that with the threat of repealing a measure that would allocate proceeds of vehicle sales taxes to public transportation, along with the other issues identified above, and the state could be facing a worst-case scenario that would remove $18.5 billion in transportation funding from the fiscal years of 2021-22 through 2029-30, according to the TAC study.

“Needless to say, the report paints a dire picture,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “And even though we may avoid the worst-case scenario, these issues will not ease without some tough decision-making on the part of our state and federal policymakers.”

To view a PowerPoint presentation on the TAC report’s findings, click here.


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